Program Lead

Program Lead

Program Lead 150 150 The-Just The-Just
The Justice Accelerator Fund
June 3, 2021
Fully remote with headquarters in Asheville, North Carolina
Job Type
Contact Name (not public)
Ana Zamora


The Justice Accelerator Fund (The Fund) is a fiscally sponsored  grantmaking organization dedicated to dramatically shrinking the overall footprint of America’s criminal legal system—from the number of people incarcerated, to the more invisible and harmful ways it holds individuals, families, communities and entire generations back from opportunity. Please read this letter from the Founder and Executive Director for more about the vision of The Fund.

Our Values 

Our success is dependent on building a team that includes people who have direct, lived experience with the criminal legal system. This includes people with criminal convictions and formerly incarcerated people, family members of currently and formerly incarcerated people, crime survivors and those who have worked within the system including law enforcement, prosecutors, public defenders and corrections. In addition, we want to build a team of individuals from different backgrounds, experiences and political beliefs who can challenge each other's assumptions with fresh perspectives. To that end, we look for a diverse pool of applicants including those from historically marginalized groups — women, people with disabilities, people of color, people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or gender non-conforming, first and second-generation immigrants, veterans, and people from different socioeconomic backgrounds.


The Opportunity

With an initial commitment of $350 million over the next five years, The Fund seeks to hire an experienced criminal justice reform advocate to lead the design and implementation of the organization’s grantmaking programs. 

The ideal candidate is an expert in criminal justice reform advocacy and policy and believes that building a strong, diverse ecosystem of organizations  and leaders, especially leaders with lived experience,  is key to long-term and durable change. They love setting strategy but love implementing it even more. They work to ensure that incremental change is transformative long-term and have a bias toward action and taking calculated  risks. And they strategically work with allies from all political perspectives, and share a deep commitment to criminal justice reform being independent of partisanship. 

You will

Serve as a key leader in building and launching the Justice Accelerator Fund through the first 6 -10 months:

  • Oversee the development of the organization’s comprehensive strategy to contribute to deep transformation of the American criminal justice system.
  • Serve as a key advisor in the development of principles and procedures related to organizational development, grantmaking operations, internal and external communications, and learning, measurement and evaluation. 
  • Build a highly productive, mission focused program team focused on grantmaking directly to the CJR field and innovative alternatives to the criminal legal system.

Once launched, the Program Lead will:

  • Lead the execution of the organization’s program and grantmaking strategies and tactics -- -- and build out and manage the program team.
  • Center justice, diversity, equity, belonging  and inclusion in your personal and organizational leadership both internally and externally. 
  • Oversee a disciplined approach to programmatic grantmaking, reflecting fidelity to strategy, sustainability, equity and good stewardship. 
  • Build trusted relationships and champion collaboration with other leaders in the field.
  • Serve as a spokesperson for the organization as appropriate.

The person holding this position may also work part-time for a coordinated 501(c)(4) organization, under a resource sharing agreement. The responsibilities under that position will be overseen by the 501(c)(4) organization. 

You have

  • 10+ years leadership experience in criminal justice reform as a practitioner, grantmaker, organization leader or other relevant experience. 
  • Recognized subject matter expertise in criminal justice policy and advocacy and the broader political landscape at the state and federal levels. 
  • 10+ years experience with grantmaking and/or experience in 501(c)3 and 501(c)(4)  organizations.
  • Lived experience as a formerly incarcerated person or experience working directly with formerly and/or currently incarcerated individuals. 
  • At least five years experience as a people manager. Demonstrated ability to build new and diverse teams and supportive systems and cultures.
  • A creative thinker with a track record of bold leadership, informed risk-taking, learning from failure, and supporting others in the same.
  • A track record of having achieved significant reforms, through legislative or administrative policy change, implementation, innovation, or a combination thereof. Preference for experience accumulated in a role working for an elected official, in a policy-making role in government, issue/ballot measure or legislative campaign experience, or related experience. 
  • Experience managing complex stakeholder relationships with government, policy, and advocacy partners, as well as experience mitigating/neutralizing opposition.
  • Demonstrated passion for engaging partners and stakeholders who hold differing viewpoints and values, including passion for working across proverbial ideological or partisan “aisles,” with the goal of developing a shared vision.
  • The ability to thrive in a dynamic and rapidly growing start-up organization that requires you to wear many hats and flex between strategic, operational, and tactical levels.
  • Experience with public speaking and acting as a brand ambassador.
  • A focused and calm demeanor in high pressure environments.
  • A deep alignment and commitment to criminal justice reform and racial justice.
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